We live in an era of unprecedented opportunity and growth. Over the last two decades, the internet has transformed the economy and given billions of people incredible access to information and products. To take advantage of this boom, many businesses have taken the step to hire content writers––professional writers who use blogs to build connections and provide value to online customers.
Blogs have become one of the go-to methods of promoting businesses online. Boasting a conversion rate of up to 14.6%, it easily outpaces the 1.7% success rate of mailings and newspaper advertising.
Competition for Customers
Still, this abundance of opportunity doesn’t come without some struggle. Everyone knows that the online marketplace is competitive, and that this will only become more and more true with the passage of time. As a result, it’s also increasingly necessary to stand out.
As businesses look to gain the upper hand in 2020 and the years to come, it’s important to create online content that goes above and beyond the standard fare. Everyone should be asking themselves: are my content writers delivering the goods? Are they not just good, but excellent?
As a result, we’ve created a short checklist of nine ways your content writers should be helping you. Each of these qualities is an integral part of what we do at SteadyContent, and whether you’re a business owner or a writer yourself, you can’t go wrong by making sure you nail these essentials.
#1 – Do They Deliver Quantity Without Sacrificing Quality?
Professional content writers write a lot.
The “ideal length” for a commercial blog post has been steadily creeping up toward 2,000 words for the last few years. A 2,000-word post might take an average office worker the better part of a workday to accomplish; usually between six and eight hours.
For professional bloggers, speed is an asset. They can often work twice as quickly, and over the course of a full day of writing, generate at least two of these posts. Over the course of a full year, this will add up to over a million words (nearly 1.5 million if the writer is consistently working––that’s like writing The Great Gatsby thirty times over).
Is Haste Making Waste?
In the same way that a line cook needs to be able to send dishes through the kitchen door at a busy restaurant, a professional content writer needs to be able to click “send” on a post.
The key is to make sure that your content isn’t suffering as a result. Blogs can gain a lot of traction and traffic as the result of posting high volume, but if the content is full of errors, many of those visitors will bounce and wind up spending their money elsewhere.
A content writer should be delivering quality and quantity. If that’s too difficult, one solution is to consider working with a content company, where you can rely on an entire roster of writers to produce your blog.
#2 – Do They Have Excellent Time Management Skills?
Bloggers typically juggle multiple clients; it’s a necessity of staying in business. If you are working with a freelancer, you can bet that they are writing more than just your blog (unless you are giving them so much work and money that they’d be crazy to do anything else).
It’s essential to work with writers who can deliver material promptly. If your posts wind up falling behind schedule, your rankings on Google will suffer as a result. This is another instance where a company can provide some stability, as you don’t need to rely on the schedule of one or two freelancers.
#3 – Do They Create Easy-to-Read Content?
Great blog posts are more than just factually correct; they’re also easy to read.
Roughly half of online readers “skim” their reading content. They’re used to short posts and social media snippets, and they don’t tend to read in detail unless something really catches their attention.
Balance Substance and Style
From a blogging perspective, the trick is to provide substance and style at the same time. You want to make sure your content is helpful to your visitors, but content writers should also be making every effort to make your posts accessible.
This means striking a balance between “this is too basic” and “this is too complicated.” Blog posts should not be full of grammatical errors, but they also shouldn’t read like a dense graduate university science textbook.
#4 – Do They Do Their Proofreading?
Proofreading is especially important if you’re working with a freelancer. Some companies have teams of editors to ensure quality control, but if you just have one individual who is producing your blog, then it’s vital that they are taking the time to proof their material.
Readers are usually forgiving of a typo here or there if the overall content is good, but even a few will stand out and make your blog look less professional.
#5 – Do They Get Precise Editing?
This goes beyond simple proofreading.
It’s incredibly unlikely that a writer will generate 1.5 million words in a year without making a mistake. Content writers can proof their own material, but sometimes the best advice can come from another set of eyes completely.
Getting a Second Opinion
Editors go over work that others have written, and add the perspective of someone reading the material for the first time. They make changes to small mistakes, as well as suggestions for how the post might sound to someone who isn’t the writer.
This can be a huge advantage, because it takes into account your customers’ likely reaction to a post. Content writing companies should supply editors, and if you have a freelancer, it’s not a bad move for them to get a second pair of eyes, too.
#6 – Do They Use Proper Formatting?
We have moved into an era where websites are getting more and more mobile visitors.
Smartphones and tablets are outpacing laptop and desktop computers at the most popular ways of browsing the web. This means that half the people reading your blog are going to be seeing it on a very tiny screen.
The Rise of Mobile
Unfortunately, there are countless blogs and websites that are behind the curve on this. Sites might take too long to load, or use design schemes that are hard to read when seen on a small screen. While bloggers might not be able to do much about these conditions, they can help you out by making sure that content is formatted properly for mobile and desktop machines.
This means frequent spacing and short paragraphs. Large, clunky blocks of text are very difficult to read on a phone, and good content writers keep this in mind as they structure their posts.
#7 – Do They Do Their Research Accurately?
Of all the things that will scare readers away, poor information ranks at the top. Odds are good that your content writer doesn’t know your business as well as you do. Odds are also good that many of your best customers are pretty knowledgeable about your industry, too.
This is why it’s crucial that you have a writer who takes accuracy seriously, and will research as well as write.
The Risks of Inaccurate Information
If you sell fishing gear online, you’ll benefit from a blog that talks to readers about different fishing styles. However, if your content writer confuses freshwater and saltwater fish in a blog post, your readers are going to assume you don’t know the difference, either. It could be worse than having nothing at all.
Research takes time, and if you have a niche industry––especially in medical, legal, or tech––you may have to pay a little more for specialized writers who are familiar with the jargon. In most other cases, writers should familiarize themselves with the subject matter before writing a post.
#8 – Do They Have a Solid Grasp of SEO?
It’s important to remember that your blogs are written for two audiences. One is the human audience that forms your customer base. The other audience is comprised of search engine archiving software.
Google, Yahoo, and many other sites all crawl the web looking for new websites to put in their directories. How accurately they represent your site depends a lot on the words that show up in your blog posts, which is where the phrase “search engine optimization” comes from.
Your bloggers need to have a good SEO strategy for you, or you could simply be publishing posts that will never be read. This is another advantage of a content company, which usually has SEO personnel on staff that handle the specifics. If you’re working with a freelancer, they should be well-versed in SEO and have a solid plan.
#9 – Are They Adaptable?
If there’s one truth about the internet, it’s that change is constant. The tricks that work today may not work tomorrow. A good blogger will be able to update SEO strategy and writing styles in order to keep up with the times.
Additionally, the internet is not the only thing that will change. You may decide that your business needs to highlight a new product or service, or that you want to rebrand, or that you want to focus on a specific geographical market.
Content writers should be able to adapt both to changing web trends and to changes in your business. The best ones are more than happy to do so.
SteadyContent: Content Writers That Stand Out
At SteadyContent, our writers create millions of words of content every month for businesses just like yours. We use a company model that allows our writers to focus on writing the best quality posts, while other specialists handle SEO research, editing, and streamlined posting.
We have handled blogs for niche markets all around the globe, and helped countless businesses boost their Google rankings through online content. We know that your blog is an important part of your reputation, and we currently have a great “trial offer” that allows you to use our service risk-free.
Get in touch with us today, and see the difference SteadyContent can make for you!